Chapter 21A.52
SPECIAL EXCEPTIONSlinklink

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21A.52.010: PURPOSE STATEMENT:
21A.52.020: DEFINITION:
21A.52.030: SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS AUTHORIZED:
21A.52.040: PROCEDURE:
21A.52.050: COORDINATED REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF APPLICATIONS:
21A.52.060: GENERAL STANDARDS AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:
21A.52.070: CONDITIONS ON SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:
21A.52.080: RELATION OF SPECIAL EXCEPTION:
21A.52.090: AMENDMENTS TO SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:
21A.52.100: EXTENSIONS OF TIME:
21A.52.110: AUTHORITY TO INSPECT:
21A.52.120: APPEAL OF DECISION:
21A.52.130: REVOCATION OF SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:
21A.52.140: EFFECT ON DENIAL OF SPECIAL EXCEPTION:

21A.52.010: PURPOSE STATEMENT:linklink


The planning commission or historic landmark commission may delegate its authority as necessary to the planning director to make a determination regarding special exceptions. The planning director may approve the special exceptions authorized by this title in accordance with the procedures and standards set out in this chapter and other regulations applicable to the district in which the subject property is located. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
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21A.52.020: DEFINITION:linklink

A "special exception" is an activity or use incidental to or in addition to the principal use(s) permitted in a zoning district or an adjustment to a fixed dimension standard permitted as exceptions to the requirements of this title of less potential impact than a conditional use but which requires a careful review of such factors as location, design, configuration and/or impacts to determine the desirability of authorizing its establishment on any given site. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
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21A.52.030: SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS AUTHORIZED:linklink


A. In addition to any other special exceptions authorized elsewhere in this title, the following special exceptions are authorized under the provisions of this title:

1. Accessory building height, including wall height, in excess of the permitted height provided:

a. The extra height is for architectural purposes only, such as a steep roof to match existing primary structure or neighborhood character.

b. The extra height is to be used for storage of household goods or truss webbing and not to create a second level.

c. No windows are located in the roof or on the second level unless it is a design feature only.

d. No commercial use is made of the structure or residential use unless it complies with the accessory dwelling unit regulations in this title.

2. Accessory structures in the front yard of double frontage lots, which do not have any rear yard provided:

a. The required sight visibility triangle shall be maintained at all times.

b. The structure meets all other size and height limits governed by the zoning ordinance.

3. Additional height for fences, walls or similar structures may be granted to exceed the height limits established for fences and walls in chapter 21A.40 of this title if it is determined that there will be no negative impacts upon the established character of the affected neighborhood and streetscape, maintenance of public and private views, and matters of public safety. Approval of fences, walls and other similar structures may be granted under the following circumstances subject to compliance with other applicable requirements:

a. Exceeding the allowable height limits; provided, that the fence, wall or structure is constructed of wrought iron, tubular steel or other similar material, and that the open, spatial and nonstructural area of the fence, wall or other similar structure constitutes at least eighty percent (80%) of its total area;

b. Exceeding the allowable height limits on any corner lot; unless the city's traffic engineer determines that permitting the additional height would cause an unsafe traffic condition;

c. Incorporation of ornamental features or architectural embellishments which extend above the allowable height limits;

d. Exceeding the allowable height limits, when erected around schools and approved recreational uses which require special height considerations;

e. Exceeding the allowable height limits, in cases where it is determined that a negative impact occurs because of levels of noise, pollution, light or other encroachments on the rights to privacy, safety, security and aesthetics;

f. Keeping within the character of the neighborhood and urban design of the city;

g. Avoiding a walled-in effect in the front yard of any property in a residential district where the clear character of the neighborhood in front yard areas is one of open spaces from property to property; or

h. Posing a safety hazard when there is a driveway on the petitioner's property or neighbor's property adjacent to the proposed fence, wall or similar structure.

4. Additional building height in commercial districts are subject to the standards in chapter 21A.26 of this title.

5. Additional foothills building height, including wall height, shall comply with the standards in chapter 21A.24 of this title.

6. Additional residential building height, including wall height, in the R-1 districts, R-2 districts and SR districts shall comply with the standards in chapter 21A.24 of this title.

7. Any alternative to off street parking not listed in chapter 21A.44 of this title intended to meet the number of required off street parking spaces.

8. Barbed wire fences may be approved subject to the regulations of chapter 21A.40 of this title.

9. Conditional home occupations subject to the regulations and conditions of chapter 21A.36 of this title.

10. Dividing existing lots containing two (2) or more separate residential structures into separate lots that would not meet lot size, frontage width or setbacks provided:

a. The residential structures for the proposed lot split already exist and were constructed legally.

b. The planning director agrees and is willing to approve a subdivision application.

c. Required parking equal to the parking requirement that existed at the time that each dwelling unit was constructed.

11. Use of the front yard for required parking when the rear or side yards cannot be accessed and it is not feasible to build an attached garage that conforms to yard area and setback requirements, subject to the standards found in chapter 21A.44 of this title.

12. Grade changes and retaining walls are subject to the regulations and standards of chapter 21A.36 of this title.

13. Ground mounted central air conditioning compressors or systems, heating, ventilating, pool and filtering equipment located in required side and rear yards within four feet (4') of the property line. The mechanical equipment shall comply with applicable Salt Lake County health department noise standards.

14. Hobby shop, art studio, exercise room or a dressing room adjacent to a swimming pool, or other similar uses in an accessory structure, subject to the following conditions:

a. The height of the accessory structure shall not exceed the height limit established by the underlying zoning district unless a special exception allowing additional height is allowed.

b. If an accessory building is located within ten feet (10') of a property line, no windows shall be allowed in the walls adjacent to the property lines.

c. If the accessory building is detached, it must be located in the rear yard.

d. The total covered area for an accessory building shall not exceed fifty percent (50%) of the building footprint of the principal structure, subject to all accessory building size limitations.

15. In line additions to existing residential or commercial buildings, which are noncomplying as to yard area or height regulations provided:

a. The addition follows the existing building line and does not create any new noncompliance.

b. No additional dwelling units are added to the structure.

c. The addition is a legitimate architectural addition with rooflines and exterior materials designed to be compatible with the original structure.

16. Operation of registered home daycare or registered home preschool facility in residential districts subject to the standards of chapter 21A.36 of this title.

17. Outdoor dining in required front, rear and side yards subject to the regulations and standards of chapter 21A.40 of this title.

18. Razor wire fencing may be approved subject to the regulations and standards in chapter 21A.40 of this title.

19. Replacement or reconstruction of any existing noncomplying segment of a residential or commercial structure or full replacement of a noncomplying accessory structure provided:

a. The owner documents that the new construction does not encroach farther into any required rear yard than the structure being replaced.

b. The addition or replacement is compatible in design, size and architectural style with the remaining or previous structure.

20. Underground building encroachments into the front, side, rear and corner side yard setbacks provided the addition is totally underground and there is no visual evidence that such an encroachment exists.

21. Window mounted refrigerated air conditioner and evaporative swamp coolers located in required front, corner, side and rear yards within two feet (2') of a property line shall comply with applicable Salt Lake County health department noise standards.

22. Vehicle and equipment storage without hard surfacing in the CG, M-1, M-2 or EI districts, subject to the standards in chapter 21A.44 of this title.

23. Ground mounted utility boxes may be approved subject to the regulations and standards of section 21A.40.160 of this title.

24. Legalization of excess dwelling units may be granted subject to the following requirements and standards:

a. Purpose: The purpose of this subsection is to implement the existing Salt Lake City community housing plan. This plan emphasizes maintaining existing housing stock in a safe manner that contributes to the vitality and sustainability of neighborhoods within the city. This subsection provides a process that gives owners of property with one or more excess dwelling units not recognized by the city an opportunity to legalize such units based on the standards set forth in this subsection.

b. Review Standards: A dwelling unit that is proposed to be legalized pursuant to this subsection shall comply with the following standards.

(1) The dwelling unit existed prior to April 12, 1995. In order to determine whether a dwelling unit was in existence prior to April 12, 1995, the unit owner shall provide documentation thereof which may include any of the following:

(A) Copies of lease or rental agreements, lease or rent payments, or other similar documentation showing a transaction between the unit owner and tenants;

(B) Evidence indicating that prior to April 12, 1995, the city issued a building permit, business license, zoning certificate, or other permit relating to the dwelling unit in question;

(C) Utility records indicating existence of a dwelling unit;

(D) Historic surveys recognized by the Planning Director as being performed by a trained professional in historic preservation;

(E) Notarized affidavits from a previous owner, tenant, or neighbor;

(F) Polk, Cole, or phone directories that indicate existence of the dwelling unit (but not necessarily that the unit was occupied); and

(G) Any other documentation that the owner is willing to place into a public record which indicates the existence of the excess unit prior to April 12, 1995.

(2) The excess unit has been maintained as a separate dwelling unit since April 12, 1995. In order to determine if a unit has been maintained as a separate dwelling unit, the following may be considered:

(A) Evidence listed in subsection A24b(1) of this section indicates that the unit has been occupied at least once every five (5) calendar years;

(B) Evidence that the unit was marketed for occupancy if the unit was unoccupied for more than five (5) consecutive years;

(C) If evidence of maintaining a separate dwelling unit as required by subsections A24b(2)(A) and A24b(2)(B) of this section cannot be established, documentation of construction upgrades may be provided in lieu thereof.

(D) Any documentation that the owner is willing to place into a public record which provides evidence that the unit was referenced as a separate dwelling unit at least once every five (5) years.

(3) The property where the dwelling unit is located:

(A) Can accommodate on site parking as required by this title, or

(B) Is located within a one-fourth (1/4) mile radius of a fixed rail transit stop or bus stop in service at the time of legalization.

(4) Any active zoning violations occurring on the property must be resolved except for those related to excess units.

c. Conditions Of Approval: Any approved unit legalization shall be subject to the following conditions:

(1) The unit owner shall apply for a business license, when required, within fourteen (14) days of special exception approval.

(2) The unit owner shall allow the City's building official or designee to inspect the dwelling unit to determine whether the unit substantially complies with basic life safety requirements as provided in title 18, chapter 18.50, "Existing Residential Housing", of this Code. Such inspection shall occur within ninety (90) days of special exception approval or as mutually agreed by the unit owner and the City.

(3) All required corrections indicated during the inspection process must be completed within one year unless granted an extension by the Zoning Administrator.

d. Application: In addition to the application requirements in this chapter, an applicant shall submit documentation showing compliance with the standards set forth in subsection A24b of this section.

25. Designation, modification, relocation, or reinstatement of a vintage sign as per chapter 21A.46 of this title.

26. Additional height for sports related light poles such as light poles for ballparks, stadiums, soccer fields, golf driving ranges and sport fields or where sports lights are located closer than thirty feet (30') from adjacent residential structures. (Ord. 13-19, 2019: Ord. 45-18, 2018: Ord. 19-16, 2016: Ord. 14-15, 2015)

http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122185
21A.52.040: PROCEDURE:linklink


A. An application for a special exception shall be processed in accordance with the following procedures:

1. Application: An application may be made by the owner of the subject property or the owner's authorized agent to the Planning Director on a form or forms provided by the Planning Director, which shall include at least the following information, unless deemed unnecessary by the Planning Director:

a. The applicant's name, address, telephone number, e-mail address and interest in the subject property;

b. The owner's name, address and telephone number, if different than the applicant, and the owner's signed consent to the filing of the application;

c. The street address and legal description of the subject property;

d. The Salt Lake County property tax number;

e. The proposed title of the project and the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the architect, landscape architect, planner or engineer on the project;

f. A complete description of the proposed special exception;

g. A plan or drawing drawn to a scale of one inch equals twenty feet (1" = 20') or larger which includes the following information:

(1) Actual dimensions of the lot,

(2) Exact sizes and location of all existing and proposed buildings or other structures,

(3) Driveways,

(4) Parking spaces,

(5) Safety curbs,

(6) Landscaping,

(7) Location of trash receptacles, and

(8) Drainage features;

h. Traffic impact analysis;

i. Such other and further information or documentation as the planning director may deem necessary or appropriate for a full and proper consideration and disposition of the particular application.

2. Determination Of Completeness: Upon receipt of an application for a special exception, the planning director shall make a determination of completeness pursuant to chapter 21A.10 of this title, and that the applicant has submitted all of the information necessary to satisfy the notification requirements of chapter 21A.10 of this title.

3. Fees: The application shall be accompanied by the applicable fees shown on the Salt Lake City consolidated fee schedule. Where applicable, the applicant shall also be responsible for payment of all fees established for providing the public notice required by chapter 21A.10 of this title.

4. Notice: A notice of application for a special exception shall be provided in accordance with chapter 21A.10 of this title.

5. Approval Process: The approval process for a special exception as listed in this title is a two (2) tiered process as follows:

a. Review And Decision By The Planning Director: On the basis of written findings of fact, the planning director or the planning director's designee shall either approve, deny or conditionally approve an application for a special exception based on the standards in this chapter. The decision of the planning director shall become effective at the time the decision is made.

b. Referral Of Application By Planning Director To Planning Commission: The planning director or the planning director's designee may refer any application to the planning commission due to the complexity of the application, the significance in change to the property or the surrounding area. (Ord. 54-14, 2014: Ord. 73-11, 2011)

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21A.52.050: COORDINATED REVIEW AND APPROVAL OF APPLICATIONS:linklink

Whenever an application for a special exception requires a variance, the applicant shall indicate that fact on the application and shall first file a variance application with the appeals hearing officer. The special exception shall then be reviewed after a public hearing by the appeals hearing officer on the variance request. (Ord. 8-12, 2012)
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21A.52.060: GENERAL STANDARDS AND CONSIDERATIONS FOR SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:linklink

No application for a special exception shall be approved unless the planning commission, historic landmark commission, or the planning director determines that the proposed special exception is appropriate in the location proposed based upon its consideration of the general standards set forth below and, where applicable, the specific conditions for certain special exceptions.


A. Compliance With Zoning Ordinance And District Purposes: The proposed use and development will be in harmony with the general and specific purposes for which this title was enacted and for which the regulations of the district were established.


B. No Substantial Impairment Of Property Value: The proposed use and development will not substantially diminish or impair the value of the property within the neighborhood in which it is located.


C. No Undue Adverse Impact: The proposed use and development will not have a material adverse effect upon the character of the area or the public health, safety and general welfare.


D. Compatible With Surrounding Development: The proposed special exception will be constructed, arranged and operated so as to be compatible with the use and development of neighboring property in accordance with the applicable district regulations.


E. No Destruction Of Significant Features: The proposed use and development will not result in the destruction, loss or damage of natural, scenic or historic features of significant importance.


F. No Material Pollution Of Environment: The proposed use and development will not cause material air, water, soil or noise pollution or other types of pollution.


G. Compliance With Standards: The proposed use and development complies with all additional standards imposed on it pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 10-16, 2016)

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21A.52.070: CONDITIONS ON SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:linklink

Conditions and limitations necessary or appropriate to prevent or minimize adverse effects upon other property and improvements in the vicinity of the special exception or upon public facilities and services may be imposed on each application. These conditions may include, but are not limited to, conditions concerning use, construction, operation, character, location, landscaping, screening and other matters relating to the purposes and objectives of this title. Such conditions shall be expressly set forth in the approval record of the special exception. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
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21A.52.080: RELATION OF SPECIAL EXCEPTION:linklink

A special exception shall be deemed to relate to, and be for the benefit of, the use and lot in question rather than the owner or operator of such use or lot. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122190
21A.52.090: AMENDMENTS TO SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:linklink

A special exception may be amended, varied or altered only pursuant to the procedures and subject to the standards and limitations provided in this chapter for its original approval. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122191
21A.52.100: EXTENSIONS OF TIME:linklink

Subject to an extension of time granted upon application to the planning director, no special exception shall be valid for a period longer than one year unless a building permit is issued or complete building plans have been submitted to the division of building services and licensing within that period. The planning director may grant an extension of a special exception for up to one additional year when the applicant is able to demonstrate no change in circumstance that would result in an unmitigated impact. Extension requests must be submitted to the planning director in writing prior to the expiration of the exception. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122192
21A.52.110: AUTHORITY TO INSPECT:linklink

The planning director or their designee shall have the authority to inspect all properties for compliance with special exception conditions as often as necessary to assure continued compliance. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122193
21A.52.120: APPEAL OF DECISION:linklink


A. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the planning director may appeal the decision to the planning commission pursuant to the provisions in chapter 21A.16 of this title.


B. Any party aggrieved by a decision of the planning commission on an application for a special exception may file an appeal to the appeals hearing officer within ten (10) days of the date of the decision. The filing of the appeal shall not stay the decision of the planning commission pending the outcome of the appeal, unless the planning commission takes specific action to stay a decision. (Ord. 31-12, 2012)

http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122194
21A.52.130: REVOCATION OF SPECIAL EXCEPTIONS:linklink

Violation of any such condition or limitation shall be a violation of this title and shall constitute grounds for revocation of the special exception. If the planning director determines that the conditions of a special exception or other applicable provisions of this title are not met, the planning director may initiate action to revoke a special exception.


A. Notice: Notice of a hearing by the planning commission to consider revocation shall be given pursuant to the requirements of chapter 21A.10 of this title. The notice shall inform the holder of the special exception of the grounds for the revocation and set a hearing date.


B. Public Hearing: The scheduled hearing shall conform to the requirements of chapter 21A.10 of this title.


C. Planning Commission Decision: Following the hearing, the planning commission shall decide whether or not to revoke the special exception in accordance with the findings and decisions in chapter 21A.10 of this title. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)

http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122195
21A.52.140: EFFECT ON DENIAL OF SPECIAL EXCEPTION:linklink

No application for a special exception shall be considered by the planning commission or the planning commission's designee within one year of a final decision upon a prior application covering substantially the same subject on substantially the same property if the prior application was denied and not appealed. (Ord. 73-11, 2011)
http://sterlingcodifiers.com/codebook/index.php?book_id=&chapter_id=49087#s1122196